Cannes | Kurt Vonnegut | This Week We Told You

Cannes-Not for Stones, Woody Allen; Cannes Do Brangelina, Weinsteins

Just as I told you more than a week ago, Brangelina is about to hit the Cannes Film Festival with full-throttle force. Maybe they’ll even adopt a French child, who knows?

Brad Pitt is coming to Cannes with “Ocean’s Thirteen,” while Angelina Jolie arrives in “A Mighty Heart,” the story of Mariane Pearl, widow of murdered reporter Daniel Pearl.

Both films will be shown out of competition, which should take the pressure off and keep the partying up. Still, for Jolie, the success of this movie is incredibly important if she expects to retain credibility as an actress.

Even though she has an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “Girl Interrupted,” Jolie has spent the better part of the last three years in tabloid headlines.

If she’s good in “A Mighty Heart,” Jolie will allay all fears that her public persona has outraced her ability to win over audiences.

The 2007 Cannes Film Festival is also offering a new lease on life for The Weinstein Company, formerly Miramax. A Weinstein film starring Jude Law, “My Blueberry Nights,” has been chosen as the festival’s opening night film.

Michael Moore’s “Sicko” will play out of competition, and an expanded version of Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” one half of the “Grindhouse” feature, will be in competition. This is a major achievement for a newish studio that’s been looking for an identity.

Cannes will also offer films by the Coen brothers, Denys Arcand, Gus van Zant and Julian Schnabel.

But there are disappointments, too. Woody Allen was certain that his “Cassandra’s Dream” was going to be featured, but it’s not. Expect Woody to show it instead in Venice.

And Martin Scorsese will only show a little bit of footage of his Rolling Stones concert film. Because of this, the Stones are unlikely to make an appearance.

This year’s Cannes will also introduce Leonardo DiCaprio as a producer. He’s presenting two documentaries under his own name: one on rock group U2, and the other called “The 11th Hour” by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners.

Still, the biggest showdown of the festival may be on May 22, when New Line Cinema hosts a 40th birthday bash at the same time George Clooney and friends raise money for Darfur. Sacre bleu!

No Vonnegut Service; Gladys Knight Honored

The family of famed author Kurt Vonnegut will conduct a private memorial service for him this weekend. But Mark Vonnegut, Kurt’s son, tells me there will be no big public program for his dad.

“He didn’t want one of those New York send-offs, so we’re not having one,” Mark said.

Vonnegut was last seen in public on Feb. 20 at Robert Altman’s star studded service. Maybe that was enough for him. We can honor this hugely influential writer, philosopher and artist this weekend by reading one of his books instead. …

Gladys Knight, arguably the very best female soul singer of all time, is getting some well-earned kudos. She’ll be honored on Sept. 10 by the Society of Singers in Los Angeles with the ELLA Award, named for Ella Fitzgerald.

Past recipients include Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Peggy Lee, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Lena Horne, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, Tony Martin, Dame Julie Andrews, Placido Domingo, Barry Manilow and Celine Dion. But Gladys is an inspired choice. Two snaps to the group for picking her!

This Week We Told You:

That Britney Spears gave away $590,000 to charities last year including $30,000 to the Kabbalah Centre in Hollywood. That’s a lot of red strings…

That Lou Pearlman, the guy who promoted *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, is on the lam in Europe. He’s accused of bilking 1,400 investors of $317 million in a Ponzi scheme…

That Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun got a star-studded send off to Rock and Roll Heaven…

That Larry Birkhead, possibly in cahoots with Howard K. Stern, sold pictures of newly secured baby to the highest bidder, OK! Magazine, after cutting another deal with NBC…